Thursday 3 October: 5.55pm KO
Live on BT Sport
The Europa League is likely to grow in importance for Manchester United as the months go by. Their slow start in the Premier League has made it even more unlikely that they will finish in the top four. Winning the Europa League could well be their only route into next season’s Champions League. They continue the group stages with an away game at AZ Alkmaar on Thursday.
You can get odds of 6/1 (7.0) at Unibet on Manchester United winning the Europa League this season. That’s what they did a couple of season ago but arguably they had a much better squad then.
The departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez without proper replacements isn’t proving a great idea. United’s 1-1 home draw with Arsenal on Monday left them in 10th place in the table. 12 points behind the league leaders but still only three points adrift of the final Champions League place.
Scoring more than once in a game is their main problem at present. They started the season by putting four past Chelsea, but eight games since then have seen them fail to score twice. You can get odds of 6/5 (2.2) at SkyBet on them managing to put at least two goals past AZ.
United began this group with a 1-0 home win over FC Astana. It wasn’t the most convincing of displays by United, few are these days. This isn’t the hardest of groups and they are expected to finish ahead of Astana, AZ and Partizan. If you believe they can beat AZ on Thursday, then Betfair will give you 29/20 (2.45) on them winning.
AZ had to go through the play-off round to qualify for this group stage. They beat Antwerp 5-2 on aggregate after having to come from behind in both legs that were drawn after 90 minutes. There are odds of 6/1 (7.0) on AZ coming from behind to draw this game.
They came close to being knocked out by Antwerp needing a 90th minute equalizer to take the game into extra time. Three goals in extra time saw them qualify and they began this group with a 2-2 draw in Partizan. They led that game, went 2-1 down but managed to come away with a point. If you want to bet on this game and enjoy a different kind of gambling experience, then head over to Betbull.
AZ have made a good start to their domestic league season. They are third in the table, just a point behind Ajax and PSV. Since the draw with Partizan, they have won three league games, each with a clean sheet being kept.They are unbeaten in their last nine competitive home games and are 2/1 (3.0) at Bet365 to win this match.
This is the first time that Manchester United have played AZ. In the Europa League, they have played five games against Dutch sides (Ajax and Feyenoord) winning three and losing two. AZ have won two, drawn one and lost one in games in this competition against English sides (Everton, Newcastle United and Middlesbrough).
Manchester United will again make several changes for this Europa League tie. Mason Greenwood is likely to start and he’s 8/5 (2.6) at William Hill to score in this match. Fringe players such as Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Axel Tuanzebe and James Garner may also feature.
Manchester United should have few problems qualifying for the knock-out stages. They already have three points in the bag and that has them two clear at the top. With a much changed line-up, it’s difficult to tip them to win on their travels. A bet on a draw with both teams scoring has odds of 16/5 (4.2) at Ladbrokes.